In news that could well upset the BlackBerry apple cart, it's been reported that Research In Motion is contemplating making its popular BlackBerry Messenger available to users fn both Android and iOS devices.
Image courtesy of logonauta
According to BGR's Jonathan Geller, the Canadian outfit is looking to try to halt the rapid growth of services such as WhatsApp, a popular Android and iOS messaging system that is based on the original BlackBerry Messenger service. RIM believes they can corner the market while charging a fee, be it a one-off payment or a monthly subscription.
It might seem a bit strange for RIM to want to bring the software that is responsible for keeping BlackBerry devices in the hands of countless potential defectors, but in the big picture, we think it could make sense. The company is getting very frustrated with applications like WhatsApp and Kik offering third-party experiences based on a concept RIM invented, and RIM apparently wants to own the space.
With BlackBerry Messenger being the crown jewel in an otherwise stale smartphone lineup, it's interesting that Reasearch In Motion is considering sharing its lunch money with its competitors respective app stores. What it could mean, however, is that RIM could take over the instant messaging market on all major platforms in one fell swoop. With BlackBerry handsets being staples in most boardrooms, having a one size fits all messaging system that's secure could well be appealing for executives and admin teams alike.
According to the BGR report, their sources claim RIM is almost set on doing an Android version of the system, with an iOS port a possibility. If RIM is going to open up its messaging system we find it hard to believe they would stop at Android. At that point an iOS (and possibly WP7) version would be a certainty and Android would only be first due to its open nature, aiding development efforts.
As for timing, BGR believes an Android release could be in the cards "this year", though a 9 month window is pretty forgiving.
Hopefully, if this does turn out to be true, we won't have to wait another 9 months for an iOS version!